Bright Skies: Selected Poems
by Maja Trochimczyk
85 poems ~ 160 color photos ~ 6 portraits ~ 184 pages
Price: $48.00 color paperback, $10.00 ebook
Publisher: Moonrise Press
ISBN: 978-1-945938-49-8 (color paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-945938-52-8 (ebook)
To Order: Moonrisepress.com
Reviewed by Michael Escoubas
Bright Skies: Selected Poems, by Maja Trochimczyk, is a collection inspired by the births of her granddaughters, Aurelia and Juniper. Both girls were born in 2021. Maja has written the present volume specifically for Aurelia and Juniper to enjoy as adults. Meanwhile, the rest of us get to unwrap this poetic gem in real time. The twin goals of this review are to feature the work of an extraordinary poet and showcase the literary legacy designed to delight and shepherd Aurelia and Juniper.
Moonrise Press has produced Bright Skies on high quality stock, perfect for reproducing fine typography and full-color artwork. Featuring seasonal transitions supported by landscape and botanical imagery, Bright Skies rewarded me with each turn of the page.
Wallace Stevens, among the premier poets of the last century has written, “The most beautiful thing in the world is, of course, the world itself.” Bright Skies is structured, whether consciously or not, with Stevens’ dictum in mind. Trochimczyk quite literally offers “her” world in word and image.
“A Springtime Revelation” sets the tone with these excerpts:
I love my mountains
blue and spring green, still
under clear azure expanse.
Their velvet pleats pile up
In layers above the valley rocks,
Pathways in empty riverbed.
Flanked by landscapes of California’s ruggedly beautiful mountains, the poem continues, stunningly faithful to the poem’s title:
Only distant waves of truck noise
from the freeway remind me that
this paradise of mine, this fluid, living
folding and unfolding is my L.A. home
hidden in a strange metropolis,
my own La La Land of bare mountains,
and the brightest sunlit gardens.
In my youth a pear tree graced our property. I remember the squishiness of ripe fruit between my toes and the bees that hovered around them. “A Pear in a Tree,” augmented by a closeup of a pear, rouged and succulent, typifies the poet’s transition to summer:
By the sandy path
I climbed a pear tree
To watch the road
Melt into the horizon
I ate a golden pear
Juice stained my dress
My daydream of white
Softness cut short
By the buzzing of wasps
They, too, longed for
The fruity sweetness
Of warm summer pears
They, too, dreamed
Of endless sunlight.
A Word About the Poet’s Style & Perspective
Maja Trochimczyk asserts “I am a positive poet.” She means that she looks for and finds the good in life: good in family, good in faith, good in nature and the world.
How refreshing, this infusion of light, in a world that oftentimes seems dominated by bad news.
For Trochimczyk, the world is beautiful and has value. She highlights a world that is worth redeeming. While acknowledging the flawed nature of existence, she does not “live” there. She dwells in light. Let “Diamonds” serve as Exhibit A:
In a seashell there is an ocean
There is Universe within my heart
A myriad galaxies dance in my mind
I’m a microcosm of Divine design
In a seashell there is an ocean
In a dark coal mine white diamonds grow
In your eyes I find ageless wisdom
The One Love that sustains us all
In your guilt I see my darkness
In your beauty–radiance and light
In your voice–the calling, the calling
Mountain air on a spring morning
Sparkling diamonds, radiant and pure–
For all forevers you enfold me in Love
Trochimczyk’s body of work bears witness to a mature writing style which uses all the tools in a poet’s toolbox. Most importantly, however, is the mind and heart from which her poems spring. Her substantive ideas are accessible. As Aurelia and Juniper mature, they will see and experience that legacy of goodness embodied in a book they can hold.
In a previous collection Maja “gave the world” to her first grandson, Adam. Here’s an excerpt:
I give you my world with veins of gold
slicing through the drab clay hours,
drops of amber hidden in sand,
turquoise among slabs of granite,
and pure diamonds in charcoal.
I give your rocks in the riverbed,
white, grey, and veined with pink–
So you step on the solid foundation
and grow up with both feet on the ground
strong and stronger each day.
In an age of family disintegration, could there be a more important gift?
Maja could do no less than compose a comparable volume for Aurelia and Juniper. The poem “Gifts” summarizes, better than I ever could, her love and legacy:
… the necklace of songs, that you take as a gift
~ Rabindranath Tagore
I gather sunlight
in my palms
to save for later
when it’s dark outside
and hope seems lost.
My hands are full
I gingerly carry
the tangle of sunrays
in a procession of gifts,
down the isle.
I gather sunlight
to keep close
to my heart,
and warm us
with a rich glow
Editor’s note: Rabindranath Tagore, (1861-1941), was a Bengali poet, the first non-Euro-pean to win the Nobel Prize for literature.